Hollywood action star Steven Seagal has gone gaga over Russia's President Vladimir Putin, calling the ex-KGBer in a lengthy interview with a government-run newspaper in Bucharest simply one of the best leaders in all the wide world.
His exact words, USA Today reported, citing Rossisskaya Gazeta: Mr. Putin is "one of the greatest living world leaders." Mr. Seagal then adds: Mr. Putin is "a friend, would like to consider him a brother."
The two hit it off over physical exercise. Mr. Putin has in recent months pushed for the government-run schools to return to old Soviet-style physical evaluation programs for students. And Mr. Seagal, 61, has made several appearances with the Russian leader to promote a healthier and more active lifestyle for youth.
Mr. Seagal also took occasion in the newspaper interview to slam America for its policy on Ukraine.
"[I'm] an American, and I love my country," but the current Ukraine policy from the White House is "idiotic," he said, USA Today reported.
"It's no secret that I have Republican views, and policies of Obama does not appeal to me," Mr. Seagal said in the report. "In many ways, it is not even his fault, but the people who are in his inner circle who have views on world politics are diametrically opposed to Russia. In my opinion, a situation where the U.S. and Russia are on opposite sides of the fence is abnormal. And I see my task is to do everything to facilitate the normalization of relations."
Mr. Seagal's friendship with Mr. Putin reminds of another notable American star, former NBA-er Dennis Rodman, and his declared love for North Korean despot Kim Jong-un.
In January, Mr. Rodman attended an exhibition basketball match he helped stage in North Korea for Mr. Kim, kicking off the game by singing a brief "happy birthday" song to the North Korean leader to much applause. Mr. Rodman has also on previous occasions referred to Mr. Kim as a "friend for life," various media have reported.
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